Dolphin and a great white shark
Dolphins and Sharks

Do Dolphins Kill And Eat Sharks?

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  • Post category:Dolphins
  • Post last modified:30 January 2022
  • Reading time:6 mins read

No, dolphins do not kill and eat sharks. Dolphins like to eat small fishes and other aquatic life forms, like octopus, squid, and various crustaceans. The only reason a dolphin will kill a shark is if they feel threatened in any way.

Great White Shark

The most dangerous shark species you can find in the ocean is the great white shark. The enormous size and strength of this shark have earned them this reputation. An average-sized great white shark is about 21 feet long and can weigh 1800 kg. With such a big difference between the size of a great white shark and most species of dolphins, it is hard for anyone to imagine that the dolphins can overpower them.

Can a dolphin kill a great white shark?

A dolphin cannot kill a great white shark by themselves, but a group of dolphins can easily attack and kill one. Great white sharks are enormous and powerful, but they do not have the speed or the ability to avoid the attacks of several dolphins.

Even though dolphins tend not to attack a great white shark unless it’s needed, in most cases, it is the orcas or killer whales that attack the great white shark. 

Killer whales have size on their side over most dolphin species, and it gives them an added advantage in attacking and killing the great white sharks. 

Killer Whale Size

The killer whales can be about 9.7 meters long and about 6 tons in weight. That means the killer whales are longer, as well as heavier, than a great white shark.

Why are sharks afraid of dolphins?

Dolphins are mammals that live together in a pod. They are also very clever and know all the tricks to protect themselves from aquatic predators like sharks. Whenever a pod of dolphins spots an aggressive shark, they immediately attack it together. The dolphin’s physical features are one of the biggest reasons sharks are afraid of dolphins. 

Unique Physical Feature Dolphins

The vertical rear end of the dolphins, along with its exceptional flexibility, give these animals a heightened level of mobility, which the sharks lack. This puts the sharks in a significantly disadvantageous position when they face a pod of dolphins.

The snout of the dolphins is another factor that helps these animals protect themselves against shark attacks. The dolphins can effectively use their snouts as an attacking tool. They use it to place punches on the shark’s belly, which can cause internal damage. In some cases, dolphins also attack the sharks’ gills to stop them from breathing altogether. 

These can be fatal for the shark, and they are vaguely aware of this fact.

Do dolphins protect humans from sharks?

There are several examples where dolphins save people from drowning. Even though there is no scientific proof behind this theory, there are examples where pods of dolphins helped surfers avoid the aggressive attacks of the great white sharks. Apart from this, dolphins are known to showcase altruistic behaviour towards humans. This kind of altruistic behaviour is not a modern phenomenon. There is historical evidence that shows us that, for centuries, dolphins have been saving humans. You can trace the records of dolphins saving humans back to the stories of ancient Greece.

Shark Attacks On Dolphins

Sharks often hunt dolphin calves, but they do not like to attack the fully grown dolphins living in the pod. As dolphins are not typically easy prey, sharks avoid striking them.

There are known incidents where the great white sharks have attacked dolphins. The reason is when a great white shark reaches a certain length, they change their diet and include marine mammals like seals and dolphins. 

But as the dolphins are much faster than the sharks, they do not always make easy prey. Even though dolphins and sharks live in almost the same ocean zone, the dolphins are not the top choice of a sharks meal. 

A great white shark only tends to attack a dolphin if it is weak, small, distracted, or separated from its pod.

Why are dolphins considered friendly to humans?

The dolphins can be friendly to humans because they have the emotional intelligence that other animals lack. Dolphins have a massive brain which allows them to develop emotional intelligence. So, dolphins have high compassion towards humans. In some cases, dolphins can consider humans as part of the pod. That is why they showcase friendly behaviour towards humans.

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However, not all dolphins are friendly towards humans. We need to keep in mind that dolphins are wild animals, and it has not been possible for us to domesticate them so, if these animals are not respected while you are around them, they can attack you.

Can Dolphins be dangerous?

Dolphins are not domesticated animals, making them dangerous to humans if they feel threatened. Most of the dolphins are large and powerful. They can injure easily any human. Even though the dolphins can seem friendly towards humans due to their intelligence, they can still be as dangerous as the sharks in some cases if need be. The only difference is that sharks eat humans, but dolphins don’t. 

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Teresa Milne

Teresa is learning zoology and loves to share her knowledge through her articles. She has some pets that she adores two dogs, two cats, and one hamster. Teresa has also studied canine behaviour and canine nutrition.